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Who Chooses Who Repairs My Car — Me Or The Insurance Company?

Man refurbishing a car headlight.

When the time comes to choose an auto body shop to fix your car after an accident, you may face some common misconceptions about your rights and responsibilities. At McCollum Auto Body, we often hear variations of the classic post-accident, pre-insurance authorization question: Do I have the right to choose who repairs my car, or is it up to the insurance company?

We’ve covered a similar topic in our blog piece regarding insurance estimates. That piece examined one of the common myths about the insurance-authorization process — namely, the myth that you need to get more than one estimate before insurance will pay out for damages. It also examined what must be done in the aftermath of an accident in order for you to remain compliant with state law.

In this particular case, we’re interested in examining a related question: Who gets to decide who repairs my car — me or the insurance company?

The good news: You do!

The bad news: You’ve still got some work to do.

The chances are that you’ll be involved in a fender bender at some point in your driving life. (Hopefully, it’s nothing more than a fender bender!) But since getting into an accident is stressful enough without having to worry about dotting all the I’s and crossing all the T’s, it may be helpful to know at least the basics of the question we’re considering here.

So let’s get to it!

Choosing An Auto Body Shop In Oregon

According to Oregon law, insurers are forbidden from requiring you to use a specific auto repair shop. As the state explains on

“Many insurers have relationships with repair shops. … Before you sign a contract with the repair shop, notify your insurer and make sure you understand what the insurance company will pay. If you choose the most expensive shop in town, the insurance company may not be willing to pay the whole amount.”

In other words (here’s that work we told you that you’d have to do), it’s essential to understand precisely what’s covered and what the insurance company will pay to the auto shop repair facility. Insurance adjusters will usually write the first estimate, and work with the shop for additional damages or missed damages in a supplement, which is a revision of the estimate. This allows both the insurance company and the repair shop to get your vehicle back to pre-loss condition. The cost of what is paid to repair the vehicle is a negotiation between the insurance company and the shop. So it’s important to find a shop that has your best interest in mind.

If you’ve been involved in an accident, check your insurance. And after you choose a repair shop, it’s a good idea to stay in touch with your insurance company about insurance claims and what your insurance company recommends regarding getting your car repaired. Consider the task of knowing the ins and outs of your insurance policy as something that you’ll learn as you increase the level of communication.

One last thing in this brief topic overview: To contain the costs of premiums insurance companies will sometimes insist that aftermarket or recycled parts be used in the repair process. The good thing is that Oregon law also requires that those aftermarket parts be certified equivalent to factory parts so that any replacement parts will do the job they’re designed to do. If it doesn’t serve the same form, fit, or function, we notify the insurance company, so they allow us to change the part during the supplement process.

Choosing An Auto Body Shop In Washington

In Washington, as in Oregon, you have the right to choose your own trusted auto body shop or mechanic to fix your vehicle. Your auto insurance company can’t tell you where to go to have your vehicle repaired. Pick the shop of your choice!

There are a whole host of protections embedded in Washington state law when it comes to your vehicle repairs. For example, did you know that insurers are forbidden from “arbitrarily denying a claimant’s estimate for repairs”? Or that insurers are prohibited by law from “requiring the claimant to travel unreasonably to … obtain a repair estimate (or) a temporary rental or loaner vehicle”?

The law is meant to protect you and your property. Most insurance companies act in good faith, so this blog post isn’t intended to frighten you or discourage anyone from partnering with any specific insurance company. The shop you choose and the insurance carrier will work together to ensure that your vehicle gets the repair work it needs.

Use your best judgment, seek the advice of friends and people whose opinions you respect, and, perhaps most importantly, find an auto body repair shop that has a sterling track record of quality repairs and superior customer service.

Choose McCollum Auto Body

You can’t go wrong with McCollum Auto Body. For nearly four decades, we’ve been providing the best auto repairs and maintaining the absolute highest standards for customer service. We pride ourselves with our OEM certifications like Honda and Kia, and many others so you have the reassurance you need to know that your vehicle is being repaired back to factory guidelines. We work hard to make it easy for you, so please don’t hesitate to ask us any questions or to let us know about any concerns you have regarding your vehicle repair.

We work with all insurance companies, and we’ll be sure to stay within your particular company’s guidelines to get your vehicle back to pre-loss condition.

Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered.

Contact McCollum Auto Body today!